Okay, so the holidays have passed, and you’re finally coming out of the sugary food coma that felt so wrong and so right all at the same time. The reality of January 2018 is starting to hit you, and you’re wondering what this year has in store for you.
But maybe that’s the wrong perspective.
Instead of pondering what this year will hold, perhaps you should be exploring what you will make of this year. Rather than being a casual observer, consider putting yourself in the driver’s seat. Of course, you know that only God is ultimately in control, but that doesn’t mean you should just sit back and relax while the days and weeks pass.
Decide on an intentional approach to the next 12 months. Establish a vision for yourself this year that will give you a lens to look at 2018 through. Then, when you come once again to December, you’ll find that it was time well spent and well lived.
You may decide on a word of the year, a theme for the year, or just a few guiding principles. The point, though, is to declare your intentions for the time ahead of you instead of letting another 365 days pass, and wondering where it went.
Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20. Spend some time reflecting on the past year to see what went wrong, what went right, and the part you played in each. This isn’t a time to dwell on the downside, but it is an opportunity to learn from it.
Did you reach your goals? Did you even have goals? Did you wait too long to make crucial decisions? Did you let someone else make decisions for you? Did you lead others and yourself well? What areas do you need improvement in? What areas did you excel in? What happened this year that was a success, even a small one? What happened this year that you’d like to re-do?
It’s all important. Don’t skimp on the reflection because it will help build a stronger foundation moving forward. You may want to get away and spend some dedicated time thinking about these things, or you may just have some small blocks of time here and there to give it consideration. Write it down and look at it in black and white. Having all the pieces laid out in front of you brings much-needed clarity.
Now think about what you want to accomplish this year. What goals do you want to achieve? What outcomes do you want to see? These may be personal, professional, physical, or emotional. It’s up to you.
Again, write it all down. It’s possible that you’ll start with a laundry list, which is perfectly fine. Get it all out while it’s fresh in your mind and you’re in a dreaming phase. Then look at your list and whittle your goals down to five or less. It’s important to be realistic about what you can attain over the course of 12 months. Otherwise, you may just set yourself up for failure rather than success.
Of course, no one has to tell you that every year will take turns and twists that you don’t expect. That’s the reality of life. But don’t let it stop you from being proactive.
If you’d like to utilize the word or theme for the year method, look for the commonalities that link your goals. You may not realize it until you see it in front of you, but it’s likely that the vision you have for 2018 rallies around a certain idea or result. Now, at least you know what it is, and can act on it.
It’s fairly common now for people to define a word or theme for the year, however, there is one element that still sets some apart. And that is to actually check in with yourself during the year to manage your progress. Don’t let the vision you set for yourself just become another resolution you intended to keep, but let fall through the cracks in February.
Set aside some time quarterly to see how well you’re living your vision. This can be done fairly quickly and easily, and doesn’t require a lot of you. But it is another intentional step, and will allow you to see if you need to course-correct your thoughts and actions.
And depending on those twists and turns that life takes, it may even be necessary for you to reevaluate and choose a new word or theme for the remainder of the year, or determine a new list of priorities. If this happens, don’t perceive it as a failure, but a purposeful action for making the most of your time.